Day 267 "Forsaken" Mark 15 - 16
September 24, 2021, 8:00 AM

Day 267 “Forsaken” Mark 15 – 16                                                             
by Glogger Deacon Debbie Beach, Christ Church, Duanesburg             

Last Sunday at 7:30am I climbed into Joe’s truck along with his mother, Rita, for the over 3-hour drive to Ellenburg Depot near Plattsburgh. According to Rita our journey was to “bring Hazel home”. Hazel was a cherished member of their family who had lived a long full life and had recently passed away. I was honored when Rita, with Joe’s approval, asked me to perform Hazel’s graveside service. I had met Hazel about 9 years ago and over the past few years used to visit her on Tuesdays with my two dogs.

As I was riding in the back seat of the truck, I took in the beauty of the Adirondacks. We all marveled at a Bald Eagle in flight! Like a wide-eyed child, I stared in wonder when I first saw Lake Champlain and its vastness! As we were ahead of schedule Joe and Rita took me on a tour of Ellenburg Depot combined with a family history. The family land was large and the view just gorgeous.

Hazel had everything planned and wanted to keep things simple. At the cemetery when I pulled my black cassock from the truck, Rita looked at me and said, “Hazel would have said ‘Nah!’”, at which time I put it back in the truck, after all Hazel wanted to keep it simple!
The cemetery was on a hill and as I faced those gathered, I again marveled at the view. As we stood among those who had gone before us, we recited Psalm 23:

“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.”

One of the prayers I used during the service was: “O God of grace and glory, we remember before you this day our sister, Hazel. We thank you for giving her to us, her family, and friends, to know and to love as a companion on our earthly pilgrimage. In your boundless compassion, console us who mourn. Give us faith to see in death the gate of eternal life, so that in quiet confidence we may continue our course on earth, until, by your call, we are reunited with those who have gone before; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.” (BCP, p.493)

As I ruminated over today’s reading from Mark, Hazel’s funeral was of course fresh in my mind. I have been to many funerals, but had I ever really listened to the words? As I wrote this blog, I went over Hazel’s funeral more than once. If you notice I underlined sentences which stood out to me more so than ever before.

As a Christian I have the hope of something far better because of Jesus’ sacrifice, the greatest act of love in history, and resurrection. N.T Wright describes the resurrection in this way: “Jesus's resurrection is the beginning of God's new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonize earth with the life of heaven….” (N.T. Wright, Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church)

Along with that hope comes a great responsibility to “Go into all the worlds and proclaim the good news to the whole creation.” As I would leave Hazel’s I would say to her “Stay out of trouble” and she would respond “Practice what you preach.” Dementia robbed Hazel of much including our way of saying bye to each other. The last time I saw Hazel I said bye in my usual manner and not expecting her to respond in kind, but to my joy and surprise she did. So my dear friend Hazel, I am trying to practice what I preach!

“Poem of Life”:
Life is but a stopping place,
A pause in what’s to be,
A resting place along the road,
To sweet eternity.
We all have different journeys,
Different paths along the way,
We are all meant to learn some things,
But never meant to stay...
Our destination is a place,
Far greater than we know,
For some the journey’s quicker,
For some the journeys slow.
And when the journey finally ends,
We’ll claim a great reward,
And find an everlasting peace,
Together with the Lord.


Deacon Debbie

Post a Comment